Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) are up there with monstera, fiddle leaf figs, philodendrons, and ZZs as some of the most popular house plants in the world. They're all over interior decor Pinterest boards, and it's not hard to see why—peace lilies have sophisticated deep green leaves and elegant white spathes that class up literally any space. These plants are low-maintenance and tolerant of low light. They'll even make the air in your home a tad safer to inhale. So take a nice deep breath, grab your hot beverage of choice, and learn how to be a good plant parent.
When selecting a peace lily, look for signs of damage and discoloration. Avoid spots on the foliage, yellowing leaves, or a sagging plant—you may be able to revive the specimen with a drink of water, but it's better not to take a chance. Check underneath the leaves for pests too.
Sure, peace lilies enjoy being crowded in their pots, but they still require the occasional transplant. Replanting every spring can help the plant thrive with fresh soil and keep it from outgrowing its current home. Especially if the peace lily begins to wilt every few days, even with regular watering, it is time to replant to a pot that won’t need to be watered as often.
When transplanting, move them to a pot only slightly bigger than the existing pot, no more than a third larger than the root ball. Peace lilies are resilient, so they can be handled a bit rough while transplanting.
Plants thrive in conditions that mimic their native home. The peace lily is a shade-loving plant from the tropical rainforests of South America and Southeast Asia. It likes 12 hours of filtered sunlight, and direct sunlight can scorch its beautiful foliage. A lack of light, though, will hamper flowering, which is a big part of the plant's appeal.
Depending on where you live, you may want to get a grow light to help your peace lily during winter. Place your plant in an east-facing window if possible.
Peace lilies are known as very dramatic plants. They will suddenly start to wilt if they do not have enough water, and this is a good reminder to water them immediately. They'll reward your diligence by perking back up just a few hours after.
Generally, keep the soil moist and, when the top inch of the soil is dry, give the plant more water until it starts coming out of the bottom of the pot. Since they are native to tropical rainforests, peace lilies can be misted, which helps keep their leaves from getting dusty, but it is not necessary to keep them healthy.
Tropical rainforests are warm and steamy, and there's constant evaporation. Humidity levels should be above 50%; picking up a hygroscope makes checking this very easy. Peace lilies enjoy a weekly misting on their leaves during warmer months, so keep a spray bottle on hand.
If your tap water is full of chlorine, use filtered water and make sure the water is not cool. Peace lilies don't like drafts and long stretches of cold weather—exposure can kill them.
If you are getting flowers, but they are weak or green, your fertilizer could be the cause. Green flowers can mean too much fertilizer, whereas weak flowers can mean that the plant needs more or different fertilizer that's high in phosphorous.
Peace lilies can grow fine without fertilization for quite some time, and it's a bit of gardener's choice when it comes to frequency. Some fertilize every six weeks, while others wait until the plant shows signs that it needs a bit of help. Especially if you fertilize often, pop the plant in the sink every six months or so and flush it with water to keep salts from building up in the soil.
Grab a pair of secateurs or garden scissors, because pruning encourages new growth and prevents disease. Trim your peace lily whenever you notice parts of the plant are dead. For example, you'll need to remove wilted flowers at some point after they finish blooming and shrivel up.
Remove leaves with black spots, as well as drooping stalks. Use sharp, sterilized cutting tools, or you could cause infection. You can shape a peace lily to fit your space better, although this may stunt its growth.
Repotting a peace lily is pretty straightforward. Choose a new moisture-wicking terracotta container about one to two inches wider—a pot that's too much bigger may lead to root rot. Water the plant and wait an hour to make the roots more malleable. While you wait, fill the upgraded pot with potting soil until it's about three-quarters full.
Gently grab the stalk and lift, loosen the soil around the root ball, and check whether the top of the root ball will end up an inch below the pot's rim. Adjust the soil level accordingly, place the plant in its new home, and add more fresh potting soil to cover the root ball before lightly watering. Even if there are signs of sagging and transplant shock after the big move, give your plant some time in the right conditions, and it will bounce back. The roots are unsettled and can take up to a week to adapt. If there's no improvement and it's in the same spot where it usually does well, pests or diseases may be the issue.
If you want more peace lilies in your home, it's fairly simple to divide the plant into smaller plants. When transplanting, split the lily into smaller clumps. Be sure to keep at least a few leaves to a clump. If you want to experiment a bit, one of the divided sections can be rooted in water. Peace lilies are fairly willing to grow this way as long as the base of the plant is kept above the water, so it doesn't rot.
If you already have enough peace lilies, the new plants can make wonderful gifts to friends or family, especially as a housewarming gift to someone who is just starting a plant collection.
Your peace lily may develop a darkish coating on its leaves or stalks. Fungal infections can be lethal, and you should quarantine your plant if you suspect it has one; otherwise, it could infect other plants too.
Try and save your plant by cutting out affected areas and applying a fungicide, but spores are resilient, so prevention is better than cure. Paying attention to your plant's health is the key to keeping it alive.
Aphids, mites, mealybugs, and scale sometimes infest peace lilies. Use a hose to wash them away, and back your efforts up with insecticidal soap spray. Test the product on a small part of the plant; if it hasn't responded poorly to the pesticide a day later, you can apply it elsewhere.
Organic neem oil is a relatively safe option to use as a spot treatment. Whichever product you choose, follow the instructions for optimal results.
Peace lilies are the best welcome home you could ask for, and they're sure to impress guests who come over when you place them in a big pot near your front door. Big, bushy plants can sit in tall pots on the floor, and mid-sized to small pots look great on side tables.
Keep it cute in a shallow, round bowl, or allow one to stretch magnificently out of a tall vase in the corners of the room.
Peace lily spathes are always white, but if you're yearning for some color and gloss, the anthurium is a lovely alternative that comes in shades of pink and red. Cast iron plants have similar deep green foliage and are non-toxic, so they may be more suitable for your home. Dracaena glauca, the "good luck" plant, is excellent for air purifying and looks just as lush.
Peace lilies are a hazard if you have young kids or pets, so keep them out of reach. They contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic. When any part of the plant is licked or chewed, you can expect swelling, drooling, an upset stomach, or trouble breathing in your cats and dogs.
Help prevent more serious issues by cleaning your pet's mouth and giving them something cold to eat or drink. These misnamed plants are not deadly like real lilies, but you should contact your vet if symptoms continue.
There are many types of peace lilies. Sensation peace lilies are big, growing up to six feet tall, and make fabulous space fillers. The leaves can reach 20 inches long. The white stripe peace lily's name says it all, the domino peace lily has subtle white streaks on its leaves, and the Picasso variety has unusual white foliage.
Some peace lily varieties can tolerate light better than others.